I adhere to the belief that a parent can’t be an equal member in the planning process of an IEP without the ability and opportunity to visit their child’s classroom (or proposed classroom) to see the environment and how their child is functioning in that setting.
Advocating for your own kid is hard. Although I spend most days advocating for other kids with disabilities, I’ve been forced to spend a great deal of time lately fighting for my own child. It is hard – much harder than working on behalf of other kids. Advocating for our children’s’ educational rights is one of the things that makes our job as parents of kids with disabilities so challenging.
As a special education advocate, much – if not most — of my work is on behalf of individual students with disabilities and their families. But when I’m not working with a particular student, I often am engaged in advocacy efforts at the system level.
Preparation and persistence remain the keys to IEP success for parents. A prepared parent will arrive at IEP meetings with a clear set of objectives. They will know what their child’s strengths and weaknesses are, and they will be prepared to make the case for why specific supports and services are appropriate for their child.
Louisiana’s new “School Choice” law has many parents of special-needs students crying “discrimination.” Although charters are public schools, so far they don’t have a good track record of providing special education services. According to Louisiana Department of Education’s own data, 91 percent of charter schools in the state do not serve students with multiple disabilities
Students with special educational needs often require a team of support including parents, teachers, administrators and therapists for smooth transitions throughout grade levels.
Having a child with special needs is not easy. I know, I have one. Regardless of the child’s disability, parenting a child with a disability is just harder than parenting a typical child. Throw in a significant developmental disability or a serious medical issue, and the stress and anxiety levels increase exponentially.